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2 teens charged with murder in Mo. cabin deaths

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) – Two teenagers who escaped from a juvenile rehabilitation camp will be tried as adults in the fatal beating and stabbing of an elderly Michigan couple in a botched robbery at a vacation cabin in southwest Missouri, a judge said Tuesday.

Anthony Zarro, 17, and Christopher Allen, 16, are charged with two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of armed criminal action, one count of felony robbery and one count of felony burglary in the January killing of Margaret and Paul Brian Brooks, aged 69 and 70.

Circuit Court Judge Alan Blankenship ruled Tuesday that Zarro, of Spring, Texas, and Allen, of Nashville, Tenn., will be tried as adults, The Springfield News-Leader reported (

The Brooks, of Baldwin, Mich., were staying in a relative’s cabin close to Table Rock Lake near Lampe, 50 miles south of Springfield, on Jan. 31 when a neighbor stumbled across a gruesome scene, according to court documents.

The neighbor saw the blood-spattered teenagers loading items from the cabin into the Brooks’ car and held them at gunpoint until the police arrived, the document said. Deputies who arrived at the scene asked the young men if anyone else was in the home.

“Anthony stated to deputies that two other people were inside, and stated `I killed them, I beat them with a baseball bat and stabbed them,'” according to the probable cause statement. A wooden bed post with what appeared to have blood on it was also found at the scene and is believed to be one of the murder weapons, the statement said.

The teenagers were carrying identification and credit cards belonging to Paul and Margaret Brooks.

Just two days earlier, the boys had run away from the Lives Under Construction Boys Ranch, 9 miles southwest of Lampe.

Blankenship wrote that because of the violent nature of the killings, the age of the suspects, the lack of a facility that could guarantee the juveniles’ confinement, “it is apparent that there are no reasonable prospects for rehabilitation.”

Rebecca Abeln, who is listed as the assistant public defender representing Zarro, declined comment Wednesday. Online court records did not list a lawyer for Allen and the public defender’s office says Allen has not applied for their services.

Zarro and Allen are scheduled to make their first criminal court appearance Friday.


Information from: Springfield News-Leader,

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